The Anonymous Widower

The Steps At Dalston Junction Station

Dalston Junction is a four-platform station and these are the only stairs at the station.

I think the design is excellent.

  • They serve all four platforms, so you can’t go the wrong way!
  • They are very wide, so have a high capacity.
  • There are effectively four handrails for those like me, who want or need to hold on.
  • Fit travellers who can lift their case, can use the stairs.
  • There is a landing half-way up.
  • The stairs are well-lit.
  • in 2017-2018, the stairs handled nearly six million passengers.
  • The small number of interchange passengers don’t need to use the stairs and walk between platforms on the level.
  • The steps are Transport for London’s typical low-slip design.
  • At the bottom of the staircase, there is a wide landing area with two train information displays and a 20-30 metre walks to the four platforms.
  • At the top of the staircase there is a wide lobby, with the wide gate-line in front of passengers coming up the stairs.
  • There is usually, a member of the station staff watching the passenger flows and answering any questions.

But above all there is a single lift about ten-twenty metres from the stairs, so avoiding the stairs is easy and obvious.

I have seen few stairs in stations as well-designed as these.

A few more general observations.

Wide Stairs With A Double Rail In the Middle

This design of stairs is being increasingly seen in London and around Europe.

In Stairs And A Lift At Cannon Street Station, I show a similar installation.

But there are loads like this monstrosity at Bethnal Green station in Before Overground – Stairs Not Fit For Purpose.

How many stations could be improved by widening the staircase?

Probably quite a few, but many staircases are constrained within solid walls.

Handrails

Transport for London generally use round and easy-to-grip handrails.

These are the best I’ve seen, which are on the Amsterdam Metro.

Some on British Rail-era stations are big and square and must be difficult for those with small or frail hands.

An Obvious Lift

At Dalston Junction, the lift is obvious as you approach the stairs.

But in some stations, the lifts are at the other end of the platform.

The Greenford Solution

These pictures show the solution at Greenford station.

Note.

  1. There is an up-escalator.
  2. A staircase,which is as wide as possible.
  3. There are three handrails with a low rail for those who prefer it.
  4. There is an inclined lift, which saves space.

I think we’ll see more step-free installations of this style.

Safety

I won’t comment on safety, as I don’t want to bring bad luck to the installations.

Conclusion

All those designing staircases and lift systems for stations, should be made to visit Dalston Junction and Greenford stations in the Peak.

April 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Automated Shuttle Train On The Greenford Branch Line

The Greenford Branch Line has the following features.

  • It is 2.5 miles long.
  • It is double-track.
  • It is not electrified.
  • There is a single platform station at both ends with three intermediate stations.
  • The service frequency is two tph.
  • Trains take 11-12 minutes to go between the two terminals.
  • Freight trains also use the line.

To run the ideal four tph, trains would need to do a round trip between West Ealing and Greenford in fifteen minutes.

If we assume that the two end stops take two minutes and the six intermediate ones take thirty seconds, then that leaves just eight minutes to cover the five miles of the round trip.

This is an average speed of 37.5 mph.

I don’t have the calculation experience or knowledge of train performance to prove it, but I think that an appropriate train would  be able to run an automated shuttle, with a frequency of four tph.

The train (or tram-train) would have the following features.

  • It would be battery-powered.
  • It would be highly automated.
  • It would have an operating speed of perhaps sixty mph.
  • It would have fast acceleration and deceleration.

The following infrastructure works would also be needed.

  • The track would be improved to allow higher speeds.
  • The points would be automated.
  • Level access between platform and train would be provided.
  • A fast charging system would be added to the bay platforms at Greenford and West Ealing stations.

If four tph could be achieved on the Greenford Branch with just one automated shuttle and no electrification, this would be exactly what the operator, the passengers and the Government ordered.

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

How Many Stations Could Use This Step-Free Layout?

Greenford station has London Underground’s only inclined lift.

The inclined lift is installed with an escalator on the other side and double-width stairs with a central rail in between.

Searching the Internet, there doesn’t seem to have been any problems, since it was switched on in 2015.

The number of passengers using the station’s two Central Line and one National Rail platforms is around five million per year, which would appear fairly typical for many outer London tube stations.

So how many stations could use a layout like this?

These issues will need to be considered.

Height

Greenford station is not a great height difference and you wouldn’t want to have too much of a difference, as the stairs will get a heavy use.

Platform Layout

Greenford station has an island platform, which means that one set of inclinced/lift/escalator can serve all platforms.

Installation Width

The picture shows that the combined installation is quite wide, so this type of step-free access could be difficult to install.

Application To A Two-Escalator/Stairs System

There are lots of stations in the outer reaches of the Underground, which need step-free-access, where there are two escalators and a set of stairs.

Some might think, that an inclined lift could be put in the space and it would certainly the engineering wouldn’t be difficult.

But the problem would be long-term maintenance, where escalators are given a full strip-down every ten years or so and closed for several months.

The station would be left with just one working escalator and the inclined lift.

I would therefore feel that installing an inclined lift instead of the stairs is not a feasible proposition, unless the station has two entrances.

Application To A Three-Escalator System

Most deep-level stations on the London Underground have banks of three escalators, so that if one breaks down or is being maintained, there is a full service.

Application To A Station Footbridge

There are lots of stations, that need step-free footbridges.

I can envisage a prefabricated system, where an inclined lift is one of the components.

The lift and its frame would be assembled in a factory and just lifted into place on prepared foundations. Stairs and if needed, an escalator could also be handled in the same way, before the bridge deck was lifted on top.

Too many step-free footbridges, seem to require a lot of bespoke construction on site.

The system could also be used where the entrance to a station was a single set of stairs to an island platform from an existing overbridge.

Bowes Park, Rose Grove and Mill Hill come to mind. This picture shows Mill Hill station in Lancashire.

There must be others, where the existing stairs could be replaced with a wide staircase and an inclined lift.

Conclusion

I think it is likely, that given the success of the Greenford installation, we will see  other inclined lifts on the UK’s railway network.

But places where they are used will have to be chosen with care and well-designed!

 

 

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment